Around about now, B and I should be heading to our seats at Dalhalla to experience the cheesy wonder that is Roxette and sing along to Dressed For Success, The Look, Fading Like a Flower and so on. But, as it turns out, I am useless. I worked as a PA for over ten years and despite one of the most important parts of my job being to keep careful track of board members’ and executive team’s passport and visa details, I failed utterly at keeping an eye on my son’s passport.
So here we were, last Thursday evening. I’d spent the day with my best friend Lopez, who moved back to her native Canada three and a half years ago. We bid a tearful goodbye after declaring our undying love for each other, and then I headed home to get all our packing done before heading off to Sweden for two glorious weeks of SUMMER! Plugged in passport information for myself and B, before moving on to Monkey. Passport number, middle names, issue and expiry dates, etc. Expiry 6th July – typing away in the little fields on BA’s website – and then to the year. My eyes fixed on it and I just went cold. It expired just two weeks ago.
How in God’s name is the most humiliating moment of my life five years ago? It wasn’t even on my radar. Perhaps because it was so awful, it seemed more recent to me and that’s why it didn’t even bloody OCCUR to me that it needed renewing?
I remember it very well, as one tends to do with those moments when you see your whole life flashing before your eyes. It was when I finally gave up on Blackberry and gave in to the all consuming curse that is Apple.
There I was, turning up to Her Majesty’s Passport office near Victoria station nearly an hour before the appointment I’d booked to renew Monkey’s baby passport. This was when Monkey still had long hair, and because ears had to be visible, the guy at Snappy Snaps ordered us to tuck Monkey’s locks behind his ears and the end result was how Monkey’s second passport photo had him looking like a missing, albeit tiny, member of Duran Duran. Anyhoo. They sent me away and told me I shouldn’t be there more than ten minutes early, so I headed back into Victoria station for a spot of shopping, taking my new and ever so snazzy new iPhone with me (probably still playing Angry Birds as I walked off).
After I left my ex-husband, I mostly stayed single until I met B, bar for a couple of bloopers I’d rather not mention. This meant my battery consumption was possibly slightly above average (a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do) and at this point I needed a new rabbit. Walking through the shopping centre in the station, I passed an Ann Summers store. Bingo! My last rabbit had died, after all (due to a disagreement on angle or perhaps over use – my memory fails me now, but the last one had conked out and I needed a new one). So I picked one up, feeling ever so efficient. The Tracy Cox Super Sex Rabbit, no less, capitalised just like that on the box. It fitted without problems into my huge handbag, and after strolling around a few other shops, I headed back to the passport office at the correct time.
There was a huge queue, and it’s at this point I wish I’d paid more attention to proceedings, but my snazzy new iPhone had me busy with Angry Birds and generally swiping left and right for the sheer joy of it. What can I say, I have a short attention span.
Then I get to the front of the queue to go through….. HANG ON. What the… …?? They have one of those scanners you have to go through at the airport, complete with sending your bag through a scanner too. Only problem here, is that the screen displaying the contents of everyone’s bag is facing out to all the people in the queue. Oh, at a guess I’d say there were at least 50 people there and when I looked around I realised that most people – who, unlike me, weren’t playing Angry Birds – were in their boredom looking at that fucking screen.
30 seconds later, after putting my huge handbag with its controversial cargo in the tray, my cheeks were a deep burgundy and the whole damn queue of people were in stitches – presumably enjoying the unmistakable silhouette of the Tracy Cox Super Sex Rabbit. For a moment, I toyed with the idea of picking up someone else’s bag and leave my embarrassment for some other poor soul to endure, but my bag also contained all the documents for Monkey’s passport so there was no way out of it. Some people actually clapped. I like to spread joy around me, but there is a fucking limit.
So. Today I had to go there again. We had to reschedule flights, plans, hotels, hire car, the lot. And I went over to get Monkey’s passport renewed, without a huge dildo in my bag this time. Let’s hope it all goes smoothly and that we can now head to Sweden a little later than planned but have a lovely time nonetheless.
In other news, B’s horrid ex is still doing her worst and I am now making a solemn vow to never, EVER again say “surely now we’ve seen it all”. I don’t like being proven wrong, so from now on I will go with B’s approach and only expect the worst – over and over. What a twisted and bitter old hag. I have tried so hard for over two years now to work out where she might be coming from, but I’m stumped. I give up. I can’t find reason here. Some people really do get the face they deserve. However, as much as I despise her and her dirty, ugly tricks, I feel sorry for her more than anything – how awful she must feel and what a pathetic existence she must lead to behave this way. She doesn’t deserve my pity, but I do feel sorry for her. Eesh.
Perhaps one day she’ll have an epiphany. One can but hope.
As I write, my Mum and Stepdad are in our seats at Dalhalla, having a date night at the concert B and I were meant to go to. I bloody hope they have fun. But it’ll be great – we may miss out on Roxette but we’re still going to Sweden. ALL of us! Me, B, Monkey and B’s two boys! YAY! B’s mum asked us to make sure we get a photo of all of us so she can have it framed and I hope we’ll remember.